A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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The parish of Stainton includes the townships of Stainton and Elstob, and covers nearly 2,000 acres. The ground slopes from west to east, the highest point being 350 ft. above the ordnance datum. The soil is clay, with a subsoil of Magnesian Limestone, and wheat, oats and clover are grown. There are 931 acres of land under grass, 811 of arable and 63 of woods and plantations. (fn. 1)
Through the centre of the parish from north to south runs the Roman road from Old Durham which crosses the Tees near Sockburn. The village of Stainton, which stands on both sides of this road, took from its position its old name of Stainton in the Street. In 1823, as at present, it consisted of a few houses only, but its 17th-century name of Great Stainton indicates that at that date it was at least of more importance than Little Stainton in the neighbouring parish of Bishopton. The church of All Saints stands on the west side of the road, while the few remaining buildings are grouped round a tiny green on the east side.
There is mention in the records of Stainton of 'Halyelande upon Southill,' where John de la Hay sold a house in 1356. (fn. 2)
A small school in Stainton was kept in the first half of the 17th century by Thomas Ingmethorpe, formerly head-master of Durham. (fn. 3) Thomas Nicholson granted £100 and land for the maintenance of a schoolmaster in 1745. (fn. 4)
To the north of Stainton is Elstob township, lying for the most part on the east of the Roman road and containing a few farms. North Farm, South Farm and Elstob House are the chief of these. North Farm and South Farm are mentioned in the early 18th century. (fn. 5) The township is crossed near its northern boundary by the Port Clarence railway. A little stream called the Elstob Beck flows across its north-east corner.
STAINTON belonged in the early 12th century to Guy de Balliol, (fn. 6) who presumably acquired it from William Rufus as a member of the manor of Gainford (fn. 7) (q.v.). Hawise daughter of Guy married William Bertram, ancestor of the Bertrams of Mitford (co. Northumb.). (fn. 8) She seems to have had a grant of Stainton from her father, for the manor was held by her descendants, while an overlordship was retained by the lords of Gainford and Barnard Castle (q.v.), of whom the mesne tenants held for the service due from half a knight's fee, the rent of 1d. and suit of court at Gainford. (fn. 9) The son and heir of Hawise was Roger Bertram, who confirmed his grandfather's gift of Stainton Church to St. Mary's Abbey, York. (fn. 10) Roger had a son William who held Greatham, and whose son and heir Roger had a son and heir another Roger. (fn. 11) The last Roger Bertram had a daughter Agnes, who married Thomas son of William de Emmelay and received Stainton from her father in free marriage. (fn. 12) In or about 1267 Agnes, then a widow, granted the manor to her daughter Agnes, (fn. 13) who sold it to Richard de la Hay, a burgess of Newcastle. (fn. 14) Her grant was confirmed to Richard in 1279 by John Balliol. (fn. 15) Four years later John Balliol made an agreement with Thomas son and heir of Richard de la Hay by which the land in Stainton was confirmed to Thomas, and a rent of 1d. and suit of court at Gainford was reserved to John as overlord. (fn. 16) The manor was settled in January 1311–12 on Thomas with remainder to his sons in tail. (fn. 17) Thomas held in 1317. (fn. 18) Richard, the eldest of these sons, was in possession before the death of his father, for whom he charged the manor with an annuity of 20 marks. (fn. 19) He was succeeded by John de la Hay, who made a conveyance of a house here in 1356 (fn. 20) and settled the manor on himself and his wife Agnes in 1362. (fn. 21) Ten years later Agnes de la Hay was a widow, and the reversion of Stainton after her death was conveyed by trustees to John son of Alan Menell of Ingleton and to Katherine his wife. (fn. 22) Katherine seems to have been the daughter and heir of John de la Hay. (fn. 23) It has been suggested that her second husband was Sir Robert de Layton, to whom in 1381 Agnes de la Hay granted half the rents of the manor during the lives of Alan Menell and his brother Robert, Katherine's sons. (fn. 24) Alan Menell was living in 1399, when he described himself as kinsman and heir of John de la Hay. (fn. 25) He and Robert both died without issue, their heirs being the representatives of their aunts, Margaret and Alice Menell, who had married respectively John Seton of Kelloe and Walter de Denton. (fn. 26) The manor of Stainton was henceforth held in moieties.
The share of Margaret and John Seton was inherited by their son John Kelloe, whose daughter and heir Alice married Robert Lambton. (fn. 27) Alice died in 1440, leaving a son and heir Richard Lambton, (fn. 28) killed at Towton (Yorkshire) in 1461. (fn. 29) Richard's son and heir Robert (fn. 30) made a division of the demesne lands of Stainton in 1487 or 1488 with Robert Thirkeld, holder of the second moiety. (fn. 31) He had a son Thomas, (fn. 32) whose son Robert (fn. 33) made his will in 1563. (fn. 34) William son of Robert (fn. 35) married Margaret Barnes of Little Haughton and died in 1580 seised of half the manor, and was succeeded by a son also called William. (fn. 36) William Lambton, son and heir of this younger William, (fn. 37) was the last of the male line. His heirs were his sisters Anne wife of Nicholas Chaytor and Margaret wife of John Killinghall. (fn. 38) In 1646, however, this moiety of the manor was sequestered for the delinquency of Ralph Coatsworth, who represented that his brother William, whose heir he was, had had a conveyance of the estate. (fn. 39) John Killinghall made a successful claim on behalf of his wife and her sister. (fn. 40) The share of the Killinghalls was inherited by William son of John Killinghall and then by his son William, who sold his estates. (fn. 41) The purchaser of his quarter of Stainton, Thomas Ogle, seems also to have acquired the Chaytor share, which was sold under an Act of 1695 for the payment of the debts of Sir William Chaytor. (fn. 42) Thomas Ogle, who was in possession of a moiety of the manor in 1719, (fn. 43) left it in 1725 to his uncle John Ogle for life, with remainder of one quarter to his cousin Margaret Robinson for life, and afterwards to his cousin Anne, wife of Sir William Middleton, bart., and of the other quarter directly to the same Anne. (fn. 44) Sir William Middleton (of Belsay, Northumberland) dying in 1757 left his estate here to his nephew William Middleton. (fn. 45) In 1760 Dame Anne Middleton conveyed it to John Tempest. (fn. 46) It followed the descent of Wynyard in Grindon parish (q.v.) till 1823, when the Marquess of Londonderry sold part to the Rev. Daniel Mitford Peacock, of whom it was purchased in 1835 by John Lord Eldon, who had in 1826 acquired the rest of the estate at Great Stainton of the Marquess of Londonderry. (fn. 47) The present lord of the manor is the Earl of Eldon.
The second moiety, inherited by Alice wife of Walter de Denton, passed to her daughter and heir Joan, who married first Robert Thirkeld and afterwards Thomas Tailboys. (fn. 48) With her second husband she made an agreement in 1433 with Robert Lambton and Alice his wife by which the land in the manor of Stainton was divided. (fn. 49) In the same year Joan and Thomas conveyed land in Stainton and elsewhere to John Thirkeld, son and heir of Joan by her first husband. (fn. 50) John Thirkeld, who with his wife Maud made various settlements of land here, was still living in 1480. In that year his son William conveyed to his son Robert Thirkeld all his land in Stainton, subject to an annuity of 40s. to William during the life of John. (fn. 51) Robert was holding a moiety of the manor seven years later. (fn. 52) In 1550 Robert Thirkeld, perhaps his son, agreed to settle an estate in Stainton of the yearly value of £10 on the marriage of his daughter and heir Eleanor with Thomas son of John Wycliffe. (fn. 53) This moiety is next mentioned in the possession of Anthony Rickaby, who held it in 1586. (fn. 54) He died in 1593, leaving a son and heir William. (fn. 55) In 1623 Anthony Rickaby, presumably the heir of William, with Anne his wife, Thomas his brother and Fortune his mother, granted half the manor to Robert Rickaby, who with Margaret his wife in March 1633–4 gave it to his son John on the marriage of the latter with his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 56) In 1644 William Rickaby's lands in Stainton were sequestered, (fn. 57) and in 1684 Elizabeth Rickaby was among the freeholders here. (fn. 58) Lands in Stainton were held by John Holme of Newcastle, probably as mortgagee, which were assigned in 1744 by his son Thomas to John Rickaby of Lee Close House. John Rickaby was succeeded by his sister Isabel wife of Anthony Hubbock, who bequeathed the estate at Great Stainton to Anthony second son of Christopher Jurdison of Lee Close House. Jurdison sold it in 1797 to Robert Collings of Hurworth. Robert was succeeded in 1820 by a brother Charles, who held the estate until his death without issue in 1836. It was sold in 1837 by the trustees under Robert Collings' will to James Watson of Great Aycliffe, being then described as Stainton Grange. James Watson devised it in 1844 to Samuel Swire, son of his cousin Maria wife of Samuel Swire of Skipton, co. York, who sold it in 1864 to the trustees of the Earl of Eldon. (fn. 59)
A 'manor' of Stainton in the Street was conveyed about 1425 by Ralph Earl of Westmorland to trustees. (fn. 60) Probably the overlordship had come in some way into his hands.
Richard de la Hay, who acquired the manor in the 13th century, obtained special permission at the same time to build a mill within or without the vill. (fn. 61) He probably availed himself of this right, for in 1433 the owners of the two moieties of the manor agreed to divide its demesne lands, leaving the manorial mill and the bake-house to be held in common. (fn. 62) In the 16th century the mill had disappeared. A survey of the reign of Elizabeth says, 'Also it dothe appeare by evidence ther haithe bene a wyndmyll which were nott onelye necessarye, but verye like to be comodyous if one weare builded againe ther. The tymber will be harde to gett to do the same.' (fn. 63) There is nothing to indicate that it was ever rebuilt.
The earliest mention of ELSTOB (Ellestubbe, Ellestop, xiv cent.) occurs in 1360, when confirmation was granted to Thomas Ughtred of a deed of Roger Burdon of Kexby granting to Thomas Burdon the manor of Kexby (co. Lincoln) and land in Elstob. (fn. 64) In February 1366–7 the vill belonged to Sir Thomas Gray of Ancroft (q.v.), who entailed it in that month on his heirs. (fn. 65) At his death in or about 1369 it was found that the manor was held in chief by a rent of 4s. 6d. and suit of court at Coatham Mandeville. (fn. 66) This 4s. 6d. represented a service of castle ward at the castle of Coatham. (fn. 67) Thomas Gray, grandson of Thomas, forfeited Elstob among his other lands in 1415, (fn. 68) but it was restored in 1455 to Ralph, (fn. 69) his grandson. Ralph also suffered forfeiture, and in 1464 the revenues from his vill of Elstob were granted to John Colt. (fn. 70) A later grant of the manor seems to have been made to Thomas Middleton, who died in possession in 1480. (fn. 71) His son and heir Thomas was in possession at his death in 1512, (fn. 72) when his daughter and heir was Anne, (fn. 73) while his heir male was his brother Gilbert. (fn. 74) Anne, who married Thomas Ruthall, died in possession of the manor in or about 1572, leaving a son and heir Richard. (fn. 75) It seems that the manor was broken up at this date into parcels. In January 1588–9 Richard Middleton received licence to alienate to William Scurfield two messuages and 420 acres of arable land, meadow, pasture and wood in Elstob. (fn. 76) Four years later William Spenceley died seised of a messuage, a garden and orchard and 190 acres of land here, which his daughter and heir Elizabeth with her husband Francis Wrenn and Florence Spenceley widow conveyed to William Scurfield in 1607. (fn. 77) William Scurfield died in 1627, leaving a son and heir William, who died in 1694. (fn. 78) The estate was heavily mortgaged by the younger William and his son of the same name, who was a prisoner in the Fleet in 1704. (fn. 79) In 1709 Gilbert Spearman bought in mortgages and the right of redemption, and became owner of the greater part. (fn. 80) He sold the South Farm in 1710 to Richard Smith. (fn. 81) Richard was succeeded in 1723 by a son Richard, who bequeathed the estate, by his will proved in 1755, to his wife Hannah. At her death in 1764, Hannah left it to her niece Elizabeth Pattison, afterwards the wife of William Todd. William and his mortgagees sold the farm in 1823 to the Earl of Eldon. (fn. 82)
In 1698 a farm in Elstob which had belonged to the Scurfields was mortgaged by William Johnson to Robert Bromley. (fn. 83) The mortgage was assigned by Robert Bromley in 1712 to his daughter Isabel, who left it four years later to her nephews Robert and William Coulson. (fn. 84) Gilbert Spearman acquired the farm in 1699 from William Johnson and repaid the mortgage to Coulson in 1722. In 1723 Spearman conveyed it with the rest of the Scurfield estate which was in his hands to William Chaloner. (fn. 85) On the death of William Chaloner these premises passed to his eldest surviving son Robert Chaloner of Bishop's Auckland, who conveyed them to trustees in 1763 on his marriage with Dorothy daughter of Sir John Lister Kaye, bart. (fn. 86) In 1771 Robert Chaloner and Nathaniel Green, a mortgagee, conveyed the Elstob estate to John Tempest of Wynyard. (fn. 87) It passed to the Marquess of Londonderry, of whom it was bought in 1826 by the Earl of Eldon. (fn. 88) The present Earl of Eldon is now the owner of this estate and practically all the land in Elstob.
In 1590 William Wilkinson of Elstob is mentioned. (fn. 89) Four years later Richard Jackson had licence to enter on two messuages and 244 acres in Elstob acquired by him from William Wilkinson. (fn. 90) He died in 1607, leaving a son and heir George. (fn. 91) This estate must have been acquired by Thomas Pearson, who in 1684 held all the freehold land in Elstob which did not belong to William Scurfield. (fn. 92)
Another estate at Elstob was settled in 1705 on Matthew Richardson on his marriage with Jane daughter of Thomas Fatherley of Byers Garth. Matthew sold it in 1730 to John Hall of West Cramlington, who bequeathed it in 1760 to his son John. The younger John was succeeded in 1779 by his son John, who sold it to Francis Reid of Hurworth on Tees. By will proved in 1800 Francis left it to his brother Thomas Reid Ward, on whose death it passed under his will to Elizabeth Ward and Anne Garthwaite, who afterwards took the name of Ward. By their wills of 1823 and 1825, Anne and Elizabeth left their shares of the estate to trustees, who sold them in 1828 to John Lord Eldon. (fn. 93)
A tenement and land in Stainton belonged to Hexham Priory. After the Dissolution they were leased in 1600 to Thomas, Anthony and Richard Dobbyn for their lives, and in 1602 a lease in reversion was granted to Margaret daughter of Roland Seymour, Matthew and Robert Seymour. This property passed to the Rickaby family and followed the descent of the second moiety of the manor of Stainton. (fn. 94)
The church of ALL SAINTS was entirely rebuilt in 1876 in the style of the 14th century. It consists of a chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, nave, south porch and west tower with spire. (fn. 95) The site is an ancient one and pre-Conquest fragments with interlaced patterns, probably part of a cross shaft, have been found. (fn. 96) They are now in the rectory garden together with other fragments of the former church, which is said to have been of 12th-century date with later windows inserted. (fn. 97) The piscina bowl, however, which lies in the churchyard is of 13th-century date, and the old stone font, still in the church, is of late 12th-century date. It consists of a plain bowl on a moulded stem and base. In the churchyard are also the base of a gable cross and part of a coped tegulated grave cover.
Built into the north wall of the tower inside are nine fragments of mediaeval grave covers, the greater number showing portions of crosses, and several 17th and 18th-century inscribed stones from the chancel of the old church are also preserved. (fn. 98)
The plate consists of a chalice of 1596 with the maker's mark CB tied, and a paten, the date letter of which is illegible but bearing the Britannia mark and the inscription, 'Ex dono Jacobi Platts Rectoris Anno Domini 1705.' (fn. 99) There are also a plated chalice, flagon and paten, and a pewter flagon.
In the churchyard is the base of a cross, and an early prick open of iron was found in 1900. (fn. 100)
The church of Stainton, with an endowment of 2 oxgangs of land, was granted by Guy de Balliol in the late 11th or early 12th century to the Abbot of St. Mary's, York. (fn. 101) The grant was confirmed by various members of the Balliol family (fn. 102) and by Roger Bertram, grandson of Guy, whose confirmation was made between 1149 and 1152. (fn. 103) The church has remained rectorial, the Abbots of St. Mary, who presented till the Dissolution, receiving a pension from it of 13s. 4d. (fn. 104) Since 1539 the advowson has been in the Crown. (fn. 105)
In a survey made under Elizabeth it was stated that certain lands in Stainton were supposed to have belonged to a chapel which came into the hands of Edward VI at the dissolution of chantries. (fn. 106) The surveyors were of opinion that this must be a mistake, for the only chapel in Stainton was a chapel of ease which had no lands except the place on the lord's waste where it stood. (fn. 107) There is, however, a record of the sale of a messuage and 4 oxgangs in Stainton, apparently ecclesiastical land, by John Awbrey to John Richardson in 1599. (fn. 108) There is no other reference to a chapel of ease in Staintion.
The school was founded in 1745 by will of the Rev. Thos. Nicholson. (fn. 109)
In 1719 Mary Barker, as stated in the Parliamentary Returns of 1786, gave £5 for the poor, which is now deposited in the Darlington Savings Bank, the interest of which, amounting to 2s. 6d., is given to poor women.